French Perfume History

Interested in the history of French Perfume? Want to know when Perfume was first used? Our guide to French perfume gives you information on the history, manufacture and sale of French perfume & more.

Although it could be argues that France has lost it’s position of unrivaled power in the fashion industry to newer and trendier fashion houses from Italy and the US, the same cannot be said about French perfume. With a pedigree of 300 years of making fine French perfumes, France is still home to many of the world’s best selling perfumes. Whether it be the classic perfumes made by Channel, Yves Saint Laurent and Lagerfeld or the younger more avant  gard perfumes of Jean Paul Gautier and French connection, French perfume is still very much at the forefront of a global industry worth billions of dollars in sales alone annually.

French Perfume History

Although perfume has been used in one way or another since the times of ancient civilizations including the Egyptians, modern perfume as we know it today first began being manufactured in France around 300 years ago. Initially, perfume was soaked into leather gloves for women to make their hands smell nice and it was only a matter of time before liquid perfume was being sold in antique French perfume bottles.

Popular French Perfume

Many of the most popular French perfumes are developed in the town of Grassed located in the south of France. This town has a long history of perfume production and today the perfume industry employs hundreds of people in the town. Part of the reason for the success of Grassed as a perfume manufacturer is that its Mediterranean climate in the south enables the cultivation of many different types of flowers which were then used to extract the perfume essence. Although most modern popular French perfumes rely more on chemicals than floral essences today, more often than not the inspiration for a perfume comes from a natural source such as vanilla, rose or lotus.